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Is Threads’ fediverse integration, the start of a more open Meta?

Lungile Msomi
By Lungile Msomi, ITWeb journalist
Johannesburg, 09 Apr 2024
Meta integrates Threads into decentralised network, the fediverse.
Meta integrates Threads into decentralised network, the fediverse.

Meta’s new strategy to integrate its youngest social media network, Threads, with the fediverse promises a more fluid online experience where individuals have greater control over their online profiles, across diverse digital spaces, say experts. But does it represent a shift in direction for Meta?

According to a statement last month, as part of its beta experience, now available in a few countries, Threads users aged 18 and over, with public profiles, can now choose to share their posts to other fediverse platforms. People on those social networking platforms can now follow federated Threads profiles and see, like, reply to, and repost posts from the fediverse.

So, what is the “fediverse”? According to, it’s a collection of community-owned, ad-free, decentralised, and privacy-centric social networks.

Notable platforms within the fediverse include Mastodon, Friendica, and BlueSky. The model uses ActivityPub, an open-source protocol, to allow communication and interaction across its network of decentralised social media platforms.

According to social media experts, this shift could foster greater collaboration and community-building online.

Brent Janse Van Vuuren, MD of Social Media 101, says the fediverse 's appeal lies in its potential for fostering cultural exchange and dismantling platform silos. "It signifies a move towards digital spaces mirroring the real world where diverse communities coexist and collaborate within a broader landscape."

Janse van Vuuren views Meta's fediverse integration as a pivotal moment, suggesting "a growing recognition of the demand for user-centric platforms with greater individual control." This move aligns with broader industry shifts towards decentralisation, balancing tech giant influence with user demands for transparency, privacy, and autonomy.

"Meta will need to adapt to align with a more open and user-controlled environment, rethinking revenue models while respecting the fediverse 's ethos and developing tools and services that offer value within this decentralised landscape," he says.

Tara Turkington, CEO of Flow Communications, comments; "If you look at the fediverse, it's mostly made up of second-tier social networks that are competitors to better-known ones. Meta's integration with the fediverse may indicate Threads' concession to rival platforms after initially positioning itself as a direct competitor. It might also mean Meta is adapting to the evolving social media landscape.”

Turkington also explains that venturing into the fediverse could help Meta keep its place in the social media ‘game’.

Reshaping metaverse vision

However, integrating with the fediverse poses challenges for Meta, a company reliant on centralised control and data monetisation, says Turkington.

Turkington suggests Meta's motives may be less about embracing decentralisation and more about maintaining a competitive edge. Despite on-boarding over 150 million consumers in its first week of launch, only a fraction are currently actively using the platform.

“I can’t see Meta giving away any of the secret sauce that contains its code, protocols and algorithms too easily. My bet is it will hang on to whatever it can in this regard, while learning what it can from its foray into the fediverse. I also wouldn’t put it past Meta to intentionally divulge code and other information to ultimately hurt Twitter/X,” says Turkington.

Janse van Vuuren suggests that beyond competition, Meta sees the integration as a desire to innovate in a rapidly evolving digital space.

“An evolving vision towards a more inclusive and flexible social media ecosystem, where Meta can still play a leading role while adapting to new norms of digital interaction, is also a key driver. This approach could help Meta stay relevant in a future where decentralised platforms become the norm,” says Janse van Vuuren.

Moreover, the experts envision Meta's integration of Threads into the fediverse potentially reshaping the company's vision of the metaverse. This shift could lead to a more open and interoperable model, aligning with the fediverse's decentralised nature.

Janse van Vuuren says: “This collaborative approach could lead to more robust and universally accepted standards, making it easier for users to navigate and connect across diverse digital spaces.”